What’s important?

Dear Editor:

What is most important to you? What are your priorities? Government-run universal health care, global warming/cooling, the environment, energy, the economy, social security reform, education, abortion, taxes, the Emmy Awards?

I’ll tell you what is most important to me: Defense and our national security. Not one of the above issues rise above the level of triviality in the absence of a militarily secure America. Those issues won’t mean a thing to you, either, if the day comes that you can’t drive down I-25 or 40 without the threat of becoming a victim of roadside bombs, or your children’s school bus can’t be safe from IEDs on U.S. 160. What is preventing the catastrophe of the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing from recurring in Denver or Durango?

A Russian naval squadron left for Venezuela on 15 September. This deployment followed a week long visit by Russian strategic bombers. This is a projection of Russian military power into the Caribbean not seen since the Cold War. Russia has also agreed to provide more than $4 billion worth of fighter jets, helicopters, 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles (AK-47s) to Venezuela, and is presently in talks with Venezuela to sell that country submarines and armored vehicles. Meanwhile, last week, Hugo Chavez, the Communist dictator of Venezuela, visited China and met with that country’s Communist leaders. This portends a greater Chinese presence in Latin America.

Our enemies are getting closer.

View our military as you would your home insurance: What is your comfort level with the coverage of your home insurance? Remember that after your house catches fire, it’s too late to increase the coverage you carry. What is your comfort level with our military preparedness? Our present defense spending is 3.8 percent of our gross domestic product. It was 9.5 percent of GDP during the Vietnam war. With the Mid-East conflicts alone, our military is being stretched to the breaking point. Our National Guard and Reserve units are being required to shoulder a huge share of our total military burden, because our regular military establishment has been so dramatically reduced. Their equipment is aging, outdated, and increasingly expensive to maintain in an operationally ready status. The F-16 is 29 years old; the F-15, 34 years; the FA-18, 25 years; the Abrams Main Battle Tank, 30 years; the M-16 rifle, 44 years old. In 1940, under the Democrat Roosevelt Administration, the U.S. Army was training with wooden rifles, machine guns and automobiles with “Tank” painted on them. (Now, we are using weapons and combat simulators.)

Obama promises to further reduce our military and, instead, use “Diplomacy.” Remember, we were in diplomatic talks with Japan on Dec. 7, 1941.

Is this the amount of coverage and quality of “insurance” with which you are comfortable to keep our national house from burning down?

Duane Branson


Dear Editor:

I believe it’s time we lifelong residents speak up for what we believe, in who best serves the residents of Archuleta County (the taxpayer).

We now have an acting county treasurer serving the people of this county who we believe is doing a fine job. Kelly Evans has worked for the treasurer’s office approximately nine-plus years and she is doing a fine job.

I have great respect for her because she has served us well since she started.

I just can’t imagine a group of party members, the Archuleta selection committee of the Republican party who picked Mrs. Diller as the best person for the office to be the party’s choice for treasurer.

To select a person who has no experience in county government over an employee who has so much OJT (on-the-job training) we think is not in the best interest of we lifelong residents to make such a choice, unless you know something about Kelly and her work that the residents of this county are in the dark and don’t know.

Our family came here in the last 1800s and never had they seen government run the way Archuleta County has been run the last 18 years.

Please write in Kelly Evans for county treasurer.


Chris Chavez


Dear Editor:

We are writing to voice our support for Kelly Evans who is running as a write-in candidate for the position of county treasurer. We support Kelly because she is the only candidate who is qualified to fill the post of county treasurer due to her education, background and experience.

Kelly is a graduate of Kansas State University and has resided in Archuleta County for 22 years. She is currently the interim county treasurer having been appointed to the position by the BoCC when former treasurer Lois Baker resigned. The BoCC had many candidates to choose from to fill the vacancy but selected Kelly because of her knowledge and experience. Prior to her appointment as interim county treasurer, Kelly held positions as deputy treasurer and customer service clerk in the treasurer’s office. She knows how the treasurer’s office should be operated from first hand experience as she has witnessed the damage an unprepared and uninformed county treasurer can do to our county’s finances.

Kelly has played an important role in assisting with the ongoing financial recovery of Archuleta County. She aided members of the Citizens’ Financial Advisory Task Force in examining the records of past county treasurers. As interim treasurer, she has instituted needed reforms and efficiencies to the benefit of Archuleta County taxpayers. Kelly wisely safeguarded taxpayers’ funds to insulate those monies from the current national financial crisis. She is a key player in the selection and implementation of a much needed upgrade to our county’s archaic primary computer system. This system serves not only the treasurer’s office but also the offices of the assessor and finance director. Kelly is the only candidate for treasurer who is qualified on both the existing computer system and the new system which must operate side-by-side for a period of time.

Kelly has demonstrated good stewardship in managing not only our taxpayer funds but also her personal finances — she is completely debt free. She believes the treasurer’s position is a full-time job and pledges to continue her full time service to the citizens of Archuleta County.

If you agree with us that Archuleta County taxpayers deserve a competent treasurer who possesses the knowledge, experience and personal integrity necessary for the position — vote for Kelly Evans. To vote for Kelly you must write in her full name (Kelly Evans) on your ballot and fill in the circle or oval by her name.


Bob and Jan Clinkenbeard

Open house

Dear Editor:

Forest Service Open House.

The Rio Grande National Forest is holding an open house Oct. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the community center in Pagosa Springs concerning the large development called “The Village” at Wolf Creek. The Forest Service must grant approval of transportation (roads) and utility corridors across National Forest land to the proposed Village at Wolf Creek, a private inholding. When completed, this gated community development may have as many as 10,000 people living and vacationing there. Your attendance at this open house is critical for letting the Rio Grande National Forest staff know that the proposal is extremely important to the residents of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County. A large attendance is essential for having any positive effect on this development. Local opposition culminated in an overwhelming 95 percent of some 3,000 comments submitted opposing this project in early 2005.

The following are important considerations of this proposed project and important points to share with the Forest Service staff. The Forest Service needs to provide full details of the development plan with a comprehensive schedule for build out. The Forest Service needs to do a thorough study of what all the associated development impacts will be. What will the impacts on existing restaurants, lodging and retail. Will the projected new tax revenues cover the increased cost of services? Is this project a benefit or impact of property tax revenue vs. cost of services?  What services will Archuleta County have to provide — who is going to pay for fire protection, police, snow removal, street maintenance. Where will the employees live — will they commute from Pagosa Springs? What will be the multi-year impact of construction on the recreational tourism of the region? Request that the Forest Service only provide access based on the carrying capacity of the area’s water availability, utility availability, highway safety, traffic, air quality, socioeconomic impacts and public safety.

What will the environmental impacts be on air quality, wetlands, wetland species, fisheries, water quality, wildlife, soils, and quiet use of the national forest? What will the development look like from U.S. 160? Whose water are they going to use, where is the sewer going to go? Are we ready to have a complete new town at the top of Wolf Creek Pass or do we appreciate and support the preservation of the wild nature of the pass as it is now? Request that the Forest Service enforce the scenic easement that the public owns.

Request that the Forest Service host public hearings, not just open houses, so the public can become well educated on the details of the project, ask questions, hear the comments and concerns of others and voice their own.

For more information concerning the Wolf Creek Pass development see www.friendsofwolfcreek.org and www.fs.fed.us/r2/riogrande/projects/forcomment/village/index.shtml.

Beverly Compton


Dear Editor:

In view of the fact that all of Obama’s character references are Marxists, Communists and militant anarchists, the public needs to see his background check, if there is one. There’s no way he could pass; nobody else could. How can the American people be defended against his references if he’s elected? This is important even for those who don’t vote.

Here’s a certainty: under his banner of change, he is not going to help those who do all of the work, take all of the risks and have all of the ideas. In order to make things even, he has employed the insidious tactic of using the plight of the poor to justify robbing the so-called middle class and rich and padding his interests at the same time. Everybody will be at the lowest possible economic level this way and much easier to control. Excluded from this change is the elimination of corruption because his whole position is dependent upon corruption; therefore, he is not in favor of change at all.

He wants the U.N. to handle our security just the way it’s handled pre-war Iraq, Darfur and now Georgia. He was against the war; therefore, he’s in favor of the terrorists and they know it. They want him to win. People need to realize that the U.N. is made up of dictator and Muslim nations with a handful of decent countries including ours, which will always be overruled.

He’s been to 57 states and is planning to go to the next one. The fact that he has no facts proves that he’s not interested in the presidency of the United States, but instead, has the ulterior agenda as herein proven. He gives nothing except twisted, warped answers to questions because he is hiding something.

Incidentally, every bit of his experience is negative and is anti-American. It’s his favorite group of organizers, ACORN, that has caused the GSE crisis. Since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac contributed to his campaign, Obama himself is directly responsible for this mess, also. He is not going to fix something he caused. Capitalism is carrying the whole load of all of these institutional anarchists and Marxists. They have nothing to offer our country. He believes in divide and conquer, not consensus. Capitalism can survive without Socialism, but Socialism cannot survive without Capitalism.

Being the U.S. president is way above his pay grade.


John Feazel

Be safe out there

Dear Editor:

As an avid cyclist, I just wanted to thank all the motorists that share the road with me. Thanks for slowing down and giving me some room; it sure makes my ride a lot more enjoyable. What a privilege it is to live and ride in such a beautiful place. People travel from all over the world just to bicycle our countryside and enjoy our town. Yes, sometimes I know it is a little inconvenient to share the road, but life is about how we handle those inconveniences, whether it’s following a semi up a steep narrow road, making a little room for a cyclist, or stopping for a cowboy moving his cows from one pasture to another. It just take a little tolerance and courtesy and maybe a few minutes of our time.

“A man on foot, on horseback, or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourist can in a hundred miles,” Edward Abby.

Let’s be safe out there and enjoy!

Gary Fisher

Big trouble

Dear Editor:

The big thing today seems to be insulting McCain’s pick for VP. So in the interest of fairness, I feel we should give Joe Biden equal time.

He recently told the CBS Evening News, “Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence, is to demonstrate what he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicate to people. This is how we can fix this.” In the same interview, he remarked as follows concerning the current financial crisis.

Today’s leaders should take a lesson from the history books and follow fellow Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s response to a financial crisis. “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’”

Where I went to school and the history book I studied claimed Herbert Hoover was president in 1929 when the market crashed. And although my memory isn’t what it used to be, I think the first television was introduced in 1939.

If this is Joe’s idea of instilling confidence in the people by demonstrating you know what you are talking about, I’ll take “scary” old Sarah any day. We are in big trouble, folks.

Leo J. Landon


Dear Editor:

The largest theft of wealth in the history of the planet is taking place right now.

A very small segment of our society is stealing literally trillions of dollars from you and your children. The people doing this are very smart, and have been planning this for awhile. The financial meltdown on Wall Street is no accident, it has been planned. It had its roots in some of the vassals of Ayn Rand, that staunch individualist whose mantra was Darwinian Capitalism. Only the strongest and smartest deserve to survive. Let the markets do the talking, deregulate everything. Privatize education, electricity, water and even the air you breathe. And, most importantly, privatize the financial markets, because that’s where the money is.

Two of the main perpetrators of this financial rape are ex-congressman, lobbyist, and former economic advisory to John McCain, the one and only Phil Gramm. And not to be forgotten, present treasury secretary Henry Paulson, to name a few.

During Henry Paulson’s reign at Goldman Sachs, the spread of over-the-counter derivatives went astronomical.

Over-the-counter derivatives are complex financial instruments that are at the root of the current meltdown, and the much more serious financial meltdowns to come. The toxic financial paper that people talk about are these over-the-counter derivatives. These over-the-counter derivatives in the words of Warren Buffet, the world’s richest man, are “financial weapons of mass destruction.” They are clever financial constructs by which home mortgages and many other financial entities are sold and resold and leveraged.

This Ponzi scheme works as long as the underlying asset increases in value. If the underlying asset falls, the house of cards collapses. It should come as no surprise to the American consumer that owning a house is not a birthright. No asset rises forever. The collapse of the housing market has put the banks at risk. And guess what; your friend Henry Paulson wants more money. The $700 million dollars in stock options he has with Goldman Sachs are on the line. He and the Bush Administration want more of your money, trillions more. They want you to bail them out. Darwinian capitalism when it serves their purpose, and corporate socialism to supersize their profits. Tell the village idiot from Crawford and his infinitely smarter henchmen, no way, no how, no bailout, no rescue. Not a dime more for those greedy bastards.

Marty Margulies

No ties

Dear Editor:

This is a critical time for our county. We have an important opportunity this November to elect a county commissioner with integrity and county-wide experience who will bring us change. For these reasons, I am supporting and working for Ron Chacey, commissioner candidate in District 1. He is not tied to any special interests, and has proven that he will work for growth that would benefit the entire community, while recognizing the need to preserve the spirit and amenities that attracted many of us and continues to be a magnet for tourists and businesses.

Ron is committed to partnering with the town and including citizens in the decision-making process. You need to have your interests and goals considered. An update of the community plan is vital. The plan should express our concerns and goals, but also be a blueprint that will let future investors and business owners know how to plan.

I recognize that time does not stand still, and Pagosa is going to grow and change. But it is clear that the growth and development which has occurred during the past has mainly been managed by the developers. Growth has not been paying its fair share of the costs of its impacts; has not taken into consideration the costs to the taxpayers. Years of poorly planned, willy-nilly growth have resulted in many of our current financial and road problems.

I believe that Ron, who has been involved with the people of the community through his volunteer work, understands our interests and desires. He has been making a difference for many years, and would represent my interests and those of us who think it is important to manage with careful planning for the changes that will occur. A significant portion of a commissioner’s decisions involve reviewing plans for growth, and I believe that having a developer and Realtor, such as Ron’s opponent, on the county commission would be a conflict of interests. This would not be a change from how planning was done in the past.

When thinking about your vote for commissioner candidates, think about the future you want to see for Archuleta County, and elect Ron Chacey.

Merilyn Moorhead

The law

Dear Editor:

Educated response to last week’s “Bicycle Dangers.”

Last week’s letter reflects the lack of understanding and knowledge of Colorado law that so many area motorists share. Colorado Statute 42-2-1412 states, “(1) Every person riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this article, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application.” Denying cyclists rights as vehicles is dangerous and disrespectful. How much time does it take to slow down for a family on bikes? Our streets are narrow and busy; even so allowing traffic to “get by” only takes seconds.

Without question, when an accident does occur, the cyclist surely loses physically, but take a minute to consider how you would feel when you get to tell a spouse or parent you are the person responsible for taking a loved one’s life? Consider how you would feel if it was your spouse, child or parent that was forced into oncoming traffic, or into the ditch? As cyclists we are protected by law; as your neighbors, it would be nice to be protected by your humanity.

Morgan Murri

Core virtues

Dear Editor:

I believe that every effective community is formed on four core values:

Truth — no lies.  Integrity — no hypocrisy; not saying one thing and doing another. Respect — no personal sarcasm or vilification.  Good faith — assume that people are doing the best they can with the information they have to achieve goals that they consider to be right and fair.

 These are the foundations of a truly caring community in which we can act together in shared cause to improve our community for all our neighbors.  It is what Martin Buber called an “I-Thou” relationship, not an “I-It” relationship.  They make my neighborhood a place where people care about each other, regardless of our political, social or economic differences.

I hope the next president, whoever that is, will ask, encourage and lead us to work together, act as one in sharing the sacrifice necessary to restore economic vitality, reach generous and righteous agreements abroad, act appropriately to restore and respect our environment, and insure equity and fairness in all our dealings with each other.

It is up to each of us, working together with shared sacrifice to hand over to our children and their children a world that welcomes all, seeks God’s blessing for all, and shares the bounty of our country equitably among all our citizens.

Find a way today to work with another for the benefit of everyone in your community.  And ask yourself, as you do that, as Herbert J. Taylor did during the Great Depression when he set forth these guidelines as the standard of ethics for human dealings:

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build good will and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Terry Pickett

River project 1

Dear Editor:

After several years of multiple variations and adaptations of the San Juan River Project, a petition has been started online for anyone who is interested to be presented to the town council and other relevant parties. Please read and add your own comments at www.thepetitionsite.com/1/san-juan-river-projectpagosa-springs-colorado.

Here are some quotes from people who care all over the world:

“If there were a decent playpark in Pagosa my family would prefer to stay in Pagosa and support the economy there, including going to the hot springs.”

“A river walk would greatly add to my likelihood of visiting Pagosa Springs and spending my recreational budget in local restaurants and stores. The original plan has many benefits for the community as a whole and would result in tourists lingering in the area.”

“Public recreation is vital to our town’s growth. Town leaders: please do not de-facto privatize the river based on a single developer’s request. The original river plan had vision and would create a vibrant downtown park that would become the centerpiece of our town. In the long run, an expensive resort as the town’s centerpiece will not be as beneficial.”

“I believe the whitewater park is much more in tune with the spirit of the town and the area than a developed hot springs. Please do not restrict access to the park. There must be a compromise. Please contact American Whitewater. They specialize in working out these types of issues.”


Chantal Ralston

River project 2

Dear Editor:

To Mayor Aragon and all town council members:

After attending previous council meetings, and reading the most recent article on the river project I have several comments and I would like to voice.

First, I would like to remind all of you that you are here for the interest of the community. I find it shocking that one business owner, The Springs, is allowed to determine what path the river project will take according to Bill Whittington’s “view.” Please keep in mind that the San Juan River is owned by the citizens, not Bill Whittington and The Springs Resort.

Unfortunately, I can’t personally donate 25K to influence council decision and get my “view” of the river.

It has been made very clear to all of you what the community wants, and has been voiced at meetings, by business owners, kayakers, fisherman, etc.

We do not want a “watered down” version of the previous plan. We want the walkways completed, the whitewater features placed were they were originally drawn up, bank work completed, etc.

 Second, the most recent SUN article stresses, “Avoiding conflict of use” refers in part to the vision of the river as conceived by Bill Whittington, owner of the Springs Resort …” What is the conflict of use? I have been kayaking/fishing for the last 10 years and I have never had a conflict of use with any other river user, fisherman or otherwise. Once again I refer you to my previous statements, it is clear to me that the “conflict of use” is not between river users, but what Bill Whittington’s “view” is and what the community wants.

Third, I would like to ask all of you, have you been to any of the “whitewater parks” in Colorado? Salida, Durango, Golden, Lyons, Glenwood Springs, Pueblo, Denver, just to mention a few? Have you consulted with these towns’ mayors/council persons on what a boom it has been to their communities? These parks attract tourists as well as kayakers, bring in thousands of dollars to the community.

Yet, Pagosa Springs sits in a four-year quagmire, wasting a valuable resource, trying to appease one business owner. Shame on you all.

In closing, I would like to see Mayor Aragon and the town council push forward with the original plan for the river project, please stand up and be the voice for the community, not the voice for one person’s “view” of the river project.

Thank you.

Kelly Ralston

Bike rights

Dear Editor:

The “letter of ignorance to the editor” regarding “Bicycle Dangers” doesn’t even deserve an intelligent response. The law states that I have just as much right to the road as a motorized vehicle. I am extremely cautious and seldom ride side-by-side with someone, especially when cars are passing me. I am very grateful to 99.9 percent of the drivers who slow down and/or move over the yellow line to insure my safety. On a 35 mph road, the only traffic that is impeded is that of those few individuals who must drive way beyond the speed limit and ignore the “Rules of the Road.”  Carmen, I would be very careful if I were you not to hit a bicyclist. Your letter to the editor may not go over so well in court. I am not going to quit riding my bicycle for fear of being hit from behind, but I will be carrying my camera phone from now on.


Linda Schneider


Dear Editor:

I was planning to quit writing, but letters like Bonnie Runyan’s (SUN 10/02/08) compel me to respond to provide her and other readers, deceived by the liberal, biased media with the truth.

First, her quote from Moyers’ book about the top one percent having more wealth than the bottom 90 percent is skewed and meaningless. Her point? Actually, the important facts are that the top one percent pay 90 percent of the taxes while the bottom 40 percent pay no taxes. Obama wants to tax them even more. Who build companies, hire workers, and pay wages? To increase their taxes would ruin the economy. One businessman said that if his taxes were reduced, he would immediately hire 200 more workers and pay their health benefits. Reducing taxes, not increasing them, spurs the economy.

Secondly, whose pockets are lined? Dodd and Obama received the largest kickbacks from the chairmen of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae who pocketed millions in graft money from the debacle. This has nothing to do with skin color, but with greed and corruption at every level. I saw television interviews with leading democrats, following McCain’s warnings of impending doom, who asserted that there was nothing wrong with Mac and Mae, ignored McCain’s pleadings for Congress to institute reforms, now publicly apologizing for their admitted ignorance while trying to grapple with the foreseen consequences.

Thirdly, besides his sweetheart loan from Rezco and shady dealings with Ayers, Obama gave $800,000 of his campaign funds to ACORN which has a history of perpetrating voter fraud. In Ohio, a very key election state, college students are having their bills paid as bribes to register and vote. Others are plied with alcohol and other perks. In some precincts, many more are registered to vote than are actual potential voters or residents of the community.

Finally, here is a classic example of liberal biased news Ms. Runyan, et alii, never realize or admit is a lie, because they accept it carte blanc without checking if it is true. Following one of McCain’s visits to Iraq, ABC news reported that interviews of military personnel indicated three would vote for Obama, two for Hillary, and no one for McCain. Major General Buckman, who provided escorts and guards for Martha Raddatz, the ABC reporter, revealed the truth from eyewitness reports of the guards. Actually, Raddatz interviewed 60 GIs, asking whom they planned to vote for. Fifty-four were for McCain, four for Obama, and two for Hillary.

I invite Ms. Runyan and others of her ilk to take off their rose-colored glasses to see the truth clearly before jumping to erroneous conclusions. Obama is far from being the squeaky clean, perfect candidate she portrays him to be. His lying prejudiced media supporters are to blame for the deception she falls prey to without scrutiny.

Eugene Witkowski